Wednesday, March 28, 2018


Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Jackson for a meeting with Wyoming's ENDOW Council. ENDOW stands for Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming. Through the leadership of Governor Mead, we spent two days with representatives from Singularity University discussing how to instill an exponential mindset and think about the future in new ways. 

Governor Mead invited a student from each of Wyoming's Community Colleges and the University of Wyoming to participate. Chemical engineering major, Gareth Flowers, (pictured with me below) was selected as NWC's student representative. 

During one of the sessions, the Governor's Director of Economic Diversification Strategy and Initiatives, Jerimiah Reiman, held a focus group with the students to begin planning a statewide economic diversification summit for high school and college students. 

Gareth Flowers and President Hicswa/Jerimiah Reiman with Gareth and other student reps. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Accreditation Reaffirmation Final Report

I recently received formal notification and the official record of action by the Institutional Action Council (IAC) of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) at its February 12, 2018 meeting. This constitutes NWC’s new status with HLC.

I am pleased to report that the IAC concurred with the evaluation team’s findings and voted to affirm our eligibility to select our pathway for reaffirmation of accreditation in the future.

We met each required Core Component for Criteria 1-5. Because Core Component 4.B was met with concerns, we are required to submit an interim report on assessment of student learning by 12/1/19.

This is one of the best accreditation reports in NWC’s history. We will be issuing the following news release to the media later today: Accreditation report among best ever for Northwest College

You may read the full report by going to our accreditation home page: Click on HLC Final Report.

The following is an excerpt from the final section which provides a summary of the 82 page report:


The 2017 HLC visiting team found that Northwest College is operating within its distance education stipulation and that it meets the Criteria for Accreditation.

The 2017 HLC visiting team found that Northwest College has made great strides in some areas since the 2013 Focused Visit. On the other hand, the Higher Learning Commission has revised its Criteria since that time and the institution is still lagging in other areas, such as establishing co-curricular outcomes relative to its assessment of student learning initiative.

It is clear that the College took seriously recommendations made by the 2013 visiting team. It is also clear that the Board of Trustees, administration, faculty and staff are committed to ensuring a culture of improvement and student success. As such, the 2017 HLC visiting team recommends that the College be eligible to choose its Pathway.

While the College should be congratulated for the aforementioned achievements, it is important to point out that NWC is challenged with the ability to maintain open channels of communication, an issue that was articulated by various constituency groups. While administration is vested with the role of establishing the means to ensure open communication, engagement and participation needs to come from all sides.

During the meetings with community members, as well as College personnel, the Team learned that acceptance of change tends to be a challenge for certain groups and individuals. While change can often be difficult, especially when driven by financial factors, it needs to be accepted in order for the College to continue to thrive and meet the needs of its students and the demands of a changing society.

I would like to acknowledge Dr. Giraud and our Accreditation Team for their hard work and dedication, and to everyone who supports NWC for your part in helping create a culture of continuous college-improvement with a central focus on student success. We still have work to do, but we can be very proud of our accomplishments over the past few years.

Please congratulate each other on a job well done! It is like winning a gold medal at the Olympics. 

Friday, March 2, 2018

WACCT Awards 2018

The annual WACCT awards ceremony and legislative reception was held in Cheyenne last week. I am proud to share that NWC had the following six nominees:
  • Student of the Year Award – Emiliano Mendez, Student Senator, Resident Assistant and Enactus Team President
  • Professional Employee of the Year Award – Amanda Enriquez, Intercultural Program Manager
  • Classified Employee of the Year Award – Diana Gwynn, Senior Office Assistant for Visual and Performing Arts
  • Faculty Member Award – Aura Newlin, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology
  • Trustee Leadership Award – Nada Larsen, Board President
  • Foundation Volunteer of the Year Award – Harriet Bloom-Wilson, Co-chair of NWC’s Intercultural House Advisory Committee
Congratulations to our statewide winners, Amanda Enriquez and Aura Newlin. Their names will be forwarded as Wyoming’s nominees for the national ACCT awards presented in New York October 26.

My appreciation goes out to all our award winners and nominees who work every day to create opportunities for students and further NWC's mission.

Below is a photo of Student of the Year nominee Emiliano Mendez and his parents at the award ceremony.

Have a good weekend!